There is a common belief that political lobbying requires some special expertise. After all some people make a living from it! But it doesn’t. You might use different words from those you’d put on a placard or leaflet. But no expertise is required – you just have to want to make your representative listen.
It may not seem like it sometimes, but as a general rule our political representatives love to listen. Or at least they want to demonstrate to their constituents that they have met and listened to them. The same is true of candidates, especially if they think your vote will make a difference.
First: identify your target… Track down your representative. For Parliament, for example, use this site: http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/ (put in your postcode and the name of your MP comes up). For your local councillors check out your council’s website. If you can, try and see if your MP/MEP/councillor has any track record on Palestinian issues.
Then: what are you after? There are simple and measurable things representatives can do to show support for the Palestinian cause. They can write to your local paper or add their name to a petition. MPs can raise a Parliamentary Question or sign an Early Day Motion. There may be issues where their vote will make a difference, be it in Parliament or in the council chamber.
Lobbying can take many forms. You can write letters, ask for a private meeting or invite them to a public meeting. Follow up on any response with a further letter and keep the dialogue going.
Every November for the past several years PSC has organised a lobby of Parliament in support of Palestinian self-determination. Over the years we have seen how this has greatly improved the willingness of MPs to sign Early Day Motions (EDMs), raise parliamentary questions, write to ministers or join bodies like the Britain-Palestine All Party Parliamentary Group.
Always read the Lobby briefings carefully. If you have any questions please contact PSC (details elsewhere on this site).